2020 Deer Seasons Set Harvest, Participation Records
Hunters Do Their Part to Increase Antlerless Harvest
While the COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on many activities last fall, it didn’t deter the state’s hunters who knew the Outdoors Are Always Open and set harvest and participation records during the 2020 deer hunting seasons.
Statistics about the 2020-21 deer seasons were unveiled during the regular May meeting of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission on Monday in Oklahoma City.
Bill Dinkines, Chief of Wildlife for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, told Commissioners that the state’s hunters did their part to help the Department with its deer management goal to increase antlerless harvest. For all deer seasons, antlerless deer made up 42 percent of the harvest, the highest percentage since 2009 and the first time since 2015 that biologists’ antlerless harvest goal has been met for a season.
Hunters reported taking 126,290 deer in 2020-21, smashing the previous total harvest record of 119,349 from 2006-07.
Also, more deer hunters than ever ventured out for archery and gun seasons. An estimated 141,472 hunters participated in archery deer season, taking 35,337 deer (a new record for archery harvest). Participation in deer gun season was estimated at 218,548, and gun season harvest set a record with 73,539 deer taken.
In other business, Commissioners:
- Received a virtual tour of the Oklahoma Panhandle State University Shooting Sports Complex from OPSU President Tim Faltyn and Lance Meek, shooting range coordinator for the Wildlife Department.
- Welcomed Phillip Land, special agent in charge of law enforcement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who presented certificates of appreciation to Oklahoma Game Wardens Lt. Casey Young, Ty Runyan and Jaylen Flynn for their assistance of USFWS Agent Matthew Bryant during a medical emergency in March.
- Accepted donations of $7,250 from the Southeast Chapter and $2,000 from the Central Oklahoma Chapter of Quail Forever, presented by Oklahoma Regional Representative Laura McIver to support upland game conservation efforts at Cross Timbers, Atoka, James Collins and McGee Creek wildlife management areas.
- Heard an update on the Oklahoma Land Access Program from Wildlife Biologist Jeff Tibbits, OLAP coordinator. Over 91,000 acres are currently leased for public hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing access. Efforts to expand Close-to-Home opportunities have led to a new category of OLAP property coming this year that will limit public access to users who have secured daily permits ahead of time
To view a video recording of the May regular meeting, go to https://youtu.be/Y9u2C5E9NiQ. The next regular Commission meeting is set for 9 a.m. June 7, 2021, at the John D. Groendyke Wildlife Conservation Building, 1801 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City.